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Posted by on in Silver Lining Telecom

 

The enterprise wireless population has between 5 - 15% zero users!According to a new report authored by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, the space agency's mismanagement of its 16,900 agency-issued tablets, smartphones, cell phones and AirCards came with a hefty price tag for taxpayers in 2013. About 2,300, or 14 percent of all agency-issued devices, went unused for seven months while costing taxpayers $679,000!

Now it’s not unusual to have some valid zero-users in your wireless population – we routinely see a few devices assigned to someone on maternity leave or used as standby/emergency devices. In fact, we have never seen an enterprise organization with absolutely no zero users; however, 14% is unacceptable but unfortunately not that unusual!  

We frequently see enterprise wireless populations with anywhere from 5% to 15% zero-users!  Poor visibility into wireless billing, lack of interface with HR systems and decentralized ordering/decision-making all contribute to this needless waste of money. Many companies just don’t have the skills or resources to effectively control (and keep under control) this aspect of their wireless spending.

Stop paying for nothing! We can show you how to effectively eliminate the costs of zero users and to eliminate them from happening again. In addition, we can help reduce your rates and overall spending as well. Best of all, if we don’t save you money, it doesn’t cost you a thing.

Call us today, and we’ll share our experience and knowledge with you.

After all, it’s NOT rocket science!

 

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Posted by on in Silver Lining Telecom

 

SilverLiningWEBdreamstime_xs_30962257.jpgSo, you thought that market competition would hold down your wireless bills? – Wrong!

Maybe you thought that Corporate Agreement your company negotiated would drive savings – Think Again!

According to New Street Research data cited by the Wall Street Journal, the average monthly revenue per postpaid customer across the industry increased in the fourth quarter of 2013, and is up more than $5 per user from the first quarter of 2010. 

Why?there are several reasons including industry consolidation, the elimination of phone equipment subsidies and the high cost (and increased use) of costly data plans.

What Can We Do?  - The only way to truly reduce wireless costs is to break free of “off the shelf” pricing and negotiate customized rate plans with discounts and credits into your carrier agreement.  Carriers won’t tell you this, but they will create and customize rate plans and discounts that are tailored to the unique needs and usage profile of your user base.  Don’t keep looking (or hoping) for savings that aren’t there – negotiate or renegotiate your agreement now to change the process, change the “rules” and change the outcome!

Need help or guidance with collecting your savings? Contact Silver Lining Telecom today.

 

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Posted by on in Silver Lining Telecom
Should the CFO Know?

We recently became aware (via reliable sources) that a company with which we had not previously had contact was paying way too much for their telecom services with their primary carrier.  The information we got was detailed and accurate. When I say way too much, I mean literally 2 or 3 times more than current market rates for key items. 

This means that, conservatively, they could quickly reduce spending by at least 25% per year by renegotiating their agreement.  Their agreement ends in less than 12 months.

We reached out to the Chief Administrative Officer who is responsible for IT/Telecom to offer our services.  The CAO responded by having a lower level person (Director) contact us.  We assured the Director that this situation was not uncommon, not due to any personal deficiency on their part and offered a no-cost detailed benchmarking analysis to document the potential savings.  The Director was somewhat defensive and did not want to pursue the discussion.  We responded back to the CAO to thank them for their attention and let them know how we could help them to reduce costs.   We’ve received no further response.

So, we’re faced with the choice of simply leaving things alone – knowing with 100% certainty that we could help this company to significantly reduce spending and increase net profitability – or, escalating to another C-Level Exec such as the CFO.  We believe the CFO would be interested since we work on a contingency basis i.e.  there’s no risk and a guaranteed first year ROI of at least 200%.  However, we’d clearly be stirring up a potentially difficult internal political situation by escalating directly to the CFO.  Should the CFO know?  What would you do?

 

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Posted by on in Silver Lining Telecom
Telecom Finger Pointing

We’ve been having a lot of problems with e-mail for a few months.  We use MS Outlook and a 3rd party email host and every time we tried to troubleshoot the problems we’d get bounced back and forth between Microsoft and the host service provider.  They both pointed the finger at each other but meanwhile our problems persisted, and we were losing time and productivity.  Since it’s easier to switch hosts than to stop using Outlook, we just switched providers and, so far, couldn’t be happier.

This got me thinking about how many times we’ve all experienced similar situations with our telecom providers and about how to prevent them. Delayed or failed implementations, service outages, account team support and billing issues are all problems that frequently cause finger pointing and tend to drive us crazy! 

According to AOTMP’s research, only half of enterprise telecom carrier contracts contain service level agreements (SLAs) addressing customer care, with 50% containing SLAs addressing customer service response times and 49% containing SLAs addressing customer service issue resolution timeframes. Although billing accuracy was noted as a top frustration for enterprises, only 31% of the enterprises surveyed had SLAs addressing billing accuracy in their telecom carrier contracts….and that an alarming 11% of enterprises reported not having any SLAs in their telecom carrier contracts.

How do you prevent or minimize these situations? Not surprisingly, the standard carrier contract language does little to address, avoid or resolve potential conflicts and the language that does exist is heavily slanted in the carrier’s favor i.e. there’s no “teeth” in them. We’ve found that putting effective customized SLA’s and language into carrier contracts will go a long way toward reducing frustration by providing a real incentive to fix the problem (versus pointing the finger somewhere else) and spelling out real remedies if the problem is not fixed. We have been very successful in getting effective, customized SLA’s inserted into agreements and have seen them pay off time and time again.

One of my favorite stories concerning these situations happened a few years ago at a large global enterprise. There was a recurring problem at a major site. The Local telco and the Long Distance provider had their fingers pointed straight at each other and the problem remained unsolved. After reaching his wit’s end, the enterprise Director responsible for telecom resorted to a creative and somewhat draconian solution. He asked both company’s representatives to join him in the PBX equipment room and to check to see if their cellphones worked. Once they did, he left the room, locked them in and called to tell them that he would let them out when the problem was fixed! They got on their phones to their respective companies and, miraculously, the problem was fixed within an hour!

While the story may be amusing, had there been effective and customized SLA’s in place, the problem likely would have been fixed much sooner and the Director would not have had to incarcerate those poor carrier employees! 

Let us know if you’d like to discuss how to get effective SLA’s into your carrier agreements or if you also have an amusing SLA related war story to tell.

 

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Real Men Tough It Out

I just read a newspaper article about why men avoid health care services like going to the doctor or getting health check ups and it occurred to me that many of the same issues could be appled to why so many of us are reluctant to get help in our business lives.

The article stated that "Sometimes men avoid getting checkups, an annual physical or recommended screening tests for other reasons.  They fear finding out something is wrong.  They think admitting, illness or discomfort makes them appear weak.  They worry that a problem may cause them to be passed over for a job or promotion" 

By the same token, how many of us have avoided asking for help with a problem in our jobs or refused to get outside help for the very same reasons i.e. fear that admitting there might be something wrong may make us look weak or less competent?  If my own experience is any indicator, the answer is that a lot of us (me included) have been in this exact situation.

The article featured a 37 year old man who, despite various persistent sypmtoms, put off getting a check up for several years.  When he finally did go to the doctor he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and faced long, painful, expensive and life-threatening treatment.  Of course, the irony is that had he gone for a checkup a few years earlier the doctors would have lkely found a small benign growth (polyp), reomoved it and sent him on his way with a clean bill of health.

Think about it - how many problems in our businesses go undetected because we take that same "fear of looking or finding out something bad" approach?  Keep in mind, I'm not just talking about negative or crisis situations but also those things that could be made better i.e. process improvements, cost reductions and quality of product or service improvements that could be implemented if they were viewed with an unflinching eye or, better yet, several sets of eyes!

The solution?  Stop trying to "tough it out" and don't be afraid to get a check-up now and then.  This could be through the use of independent 3rd party consultants that have expertise or intellectual property that you don't have or it could be as simple as asking a colleague or co-worker for their input and "another set of eyes" on some aspect of your work.

The reward?  Much like medical problems, I've never seen a real business problem or opportunity that gets better by being ignored. So, the payoff for seeking help is a far less painful "treatment" and typically a better overall solution.  In the end, you'll be viewed not as weak or less competent but as a smart, pro-active problem solver who knows how to ensure a "clean bill of health" for your business.

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